Immediately after the game, the Yankees acquired All-Star right fielder Bobby Abreu and pitcher Cory Lidle from Philadelphia for four minor league prospects—including 2005 first-round draft pick C.J. Henry.
“I think we are going to be a better team on Tuesday,” Damon said anticipating the arrival of his new teammates. “I think it’s a great move for us.”
Damon took care of the offense on Sunday. He hit his 12th homer off James Shields (4-5) in the fifth inning to give New York a 3-2 lead before connecting again in the seventh. It was his tenth career multihomer game and second this season.
“It’s kind of funny,” Damon said. “I haven’t hit any home runs in a long while. I haven’t even been hitting homers in batting practice.”
The two long drives came as no surprise to Yankees manager Joe Torre.
“Johnny has that kind of power,” Torre said. “I’ve experienced it sitting in the same seat, but unfortunately he had a different uniform on then.”
That would be 2004 when Damon’s grand slam in Game 7 helped the Boston Red Sox finish off the Yankees in the American League playoffs and reach the World Series.
Now Damon is trying to catch his old team.
Mussina (13-3) played his part against Tampa Bay, allowing just five hits. He struck out eight, walked two and has not lost since June 15.
Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon was impressed.
“He’s been pitching well all year,” Maddon said. “His velocity is up. When you combine that with his competitive nature it makes it tough. He pitches up with his fastball as well as anybody.”
The win was the 237th of Mussina’s career, passing Whitey Ford and tying Clark Griffith and Waite Hoyt for 55th place on the career list.
Mussina was excited about the acquisition of Lidle.
“He is a veteran pitcher who throws strikes and gets groundballs,” Mussina said. “I think he’ll be a solid pitcher for us.”
Shields yielded four runs and eight hits in seven innings. He struck out six and walked one.
Tampa Bay came right back in the fourth.
Travis Lee singled with one out, moved up on a walk to Jorge Cantu and scored on a single by Jonny Gomes. Then Tomas Perez’s seventh straight hit scored Cantu with the tying run. Mussina then struck out Josh Paul to end the inning.
The Yankees also sent reliever Matt Smith, catcher Jesus Sanchez and right-hander Carlos Monasterios to the Phillies in the trade. … Perez followed his five straight hits Saturday with hits his first two times up Sunday. The seven straight hits were one short of the Tampa Ray record held by Aubrey Huff. … Attendance was 54,102, the 33rd sellout of the season.